TAKE HEED

 

Just about every day of our lives we see signs that warn us to take heed. Many times the signs will have the word danger, warning, or caution in them. Sometimes the warning is indicated by flashing lights or by a siren. Many of the warnings can mean the difference between life and death.

 

One warning sign that we are used to hearing especially around this time of the year is tornado sirens. When we hear them go off, we should prepare, but sometimes people become lax at the warnings because many times nothing happens.

 

For example, I heard a story about this happening here in Oklahoma. The tornado siren went off in that town and everyone took cover except for one elderly man. Someone herd him say, ďIíve run to the storm cellar dozens of times and nothing happened. This time Iím just going to sit here on my porch and watch the tornado go by.Ē Within a few minutes, the tornado struck the town and leveled several houses, including the house of the elderly man who chose not to take heed to the warning. They found his lifeless body several yards away from where he was sitting on his porch.

 

This is one example out of hundreds if not thousands of actual cases where people lost their lives because they did not take heed to the warning signs.

 

In the Bible, God has given us a lot of warning signs, and many of them start out with ďTake HeedĒ This phrase is used 49 times in the NKJV. Tonight I want to take a look a few of the passages where the phrase ďTake HeedĒ occurs.

 

Our first one comes from,

 

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

 

I remember one preacher who said he had memorized the Scripture in the event that he ever fell as we stepping down from the pulpit, but of course this has a much deeper meaning than that. As Paul continues on in this chapter, he gives examples of how the children of Israel had not taken heed to Godís Word and they fell because of their disobedience.


Even though they lived over 3500 years ago, human nature has not changed much because people today have the same weaknesses and sins in their life as those during Mosesí day. When you study about the children of Israel, you will find that they struggled with many different sins, such as fornication, worldly lust, murmuring and complaining against God, but the main example that Paul gives in our text is that of idolatry. This is why Paul said,

 

1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

 

Some might say today that they have no problem with idolatry because they are not worshiping idols, angels, or anything else other than God, but what some donít understand is that there are many forms to idolatry. For instance, Paul says that covetousness is idolatry in Col. 3:5. Of course, covetousness is a huge problem in America because we live in one of the most materialistic societies that man has ever seen. Some people will work 2 or 3 jobs not because they have to, but so they can afford what they consider to be the finer things of life. Since they are coveting all these creature comforts, they are making those material things their gods, which is idolatry.

 

This type of attitude that many have adopted has been influencing those in the church in several ways:

 

1. Since some want to have their piece of the America pie, they are neglecting the services of God because that second or third job is interfering with it.

2.Since some are working so hard, they are too tired to make time for God, so they donít study Godís Word, and they donít even find time to pray to God.

3. Since some are working hard to buy those expensive toys they want, they put the Lordís church on a budget because every extra dollar they give to God will take them longer to buy their new toys.

 

This is not the attitude we should have a Christians. Jesus said,

 

Luke 12:15 Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."

 

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 

Will we take heed to the warning that Jesus Himself has given us and avoid the influence of our society when it comes to covetousness. Will we continue to put Godís kingdom first in our lives instead of putting it second, third, or even last?

 

I want you to listen carefully to the admonitions of the following Scriptures, which teach against the covetousness causes.

 

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

KJV 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing,18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 

2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

We cannot neglect any of these admonitions and still remain faithful to the Lord. When we slack off and fail to make these spiritual values first in our lives, we are setting ourselves up to fall into the same sins as the children of Israel. In fact this was the premise behind Paulís statement in 1 Cor. 10:12 because notice what he says again,

 

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

 

Another thing we are to take heed to is found in verse 10 in which we are told not be complainers like the children of Israel complained when they were in the wilderness. One of the things that God despised was the children of Israelís constant complaining and murmuring of what God had done for them. When you study about the children of Israelís time in the wilderness, you will find them murmuring multiple times, and on several occasions, God would bring about physical death to them and they would be cut off from God, just like the adulterers, murders, and idolaters were.

 

It is obvious that God does not like it, when His people complain and murmur about what He has done for them. While God doesnít kill us today under the new covenant for our complaining and murmuring, we should not think that God tolerates it because at the final judgment day, we will have to give an account for ever idle word that has slipped from our mouth John 12:48.

 

So, it is possible that our constant murmuring and complaining about what God has done for us can make us pull up a seat next to liars, fornicators and thieves. So, we need to take heed and stop complaining and develop the attitude expressed by Paul in,

 

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. †††

 

We cannot practice what Paul has taught us here and nit pick our brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannot practice this, and be critical or negative about the Lordís church or toward our elders, and we certainly should not be critical of God. In fact, we should not have negative attitude about our lives or other people in general if we want to live by these principles taught by Paul. Consider what else Paul taught about this in,

 

 

 

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

 

So as Christians, we must learn to live quite and peaceable lives in all goodness and honesty without murmuring and complaining, and we must strive to stay away from covetousness and worldly pride.

 

If we are guilty of any of these negative sinful attitudes, we need to repent and ask for Godís forgiveness, and do our best to remove these sinful attitudes from our hearts. If we will allow God to help us, we can overcome these non-Christian attitudes by committing ourselves to Him and by seeking His wisdom and help.

 

The last Scripture we are going to look at this evening that has our phrase take heed comes from Paul wrote to Timothy in,

 

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

 

Paul is warning Timothy to pay careful attention to 2 different things. The first thing he tells him to do is to take heed of himself. Sometimes as Christians, we start worrying so much about everyone else and making sure that they are doing what they are suppose to do that we forget about ourselves.

 

When it comes to God and our relationship with Him, it is imperative that we make sure that we are living our life for God, and that we have the sin out of our life. When we have our life in order, then we will be more effective at helping others get their life in order. This is why Paul said,

 

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

 

Paul understood that His preaching and teaching could save others, while at the same time he could be lost if he was not living by what he taught. Preachers and teachers of Godís Word need to understand this because it takes more than proclaiming Godís Word to make you right with Him, and we need to realize as teachers that we will be held by higher standard by God as James says,

 

James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

 

Not only should we make sure that when we teach Godís Word that we are teaching the truth, we must live by what we preach. We better than anyone should know how we should be living our lives. We cannot proclaim to be ignorant of Godís truth as Jesus said,

 

Luke 6:46 " But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?

When it comes to reaching out to a fallen brother and trying to get them to change their ways, Paul said,

 

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

 

Notice, those who are spiritual are the ones that are to try and reach out to the sinning brother or sister, which every Christian should be, and Paul said we should consider ourselves and make sure we are spiritual enough not to get caught up in the same temptation. We must learn to recognize our strengths and our weakness and while we work on those areas we are weak in, we should avoid those things which make us weak.

 

Another thing we must take heed to in regards at looking at ourselves, we must not think we are better than we are or that we are better than anyone else. As Paul said,

 

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

 

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

 

When we learn to have humble attitude about ourselves, it will keep us from inflating our self-image and from becoming puffed up with vanity and pride.

 

The second thing Paul told Timothy to take heed to was the doctrine, and he wants him and us to continue in that doctrine, which is talking about the Word of God. The Word of God is power of salvation Rom. 1:16 and it is the Word of God that will save our souls James 1:21. The only way that you and I can be guaranteed of a home in heaven is by living our lives by the Word of God because if we fail to do this, we will not make it to heaven. Jesus said,

 

Matthew 7:21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

 

Notice what the writer of Hebrews says,

 

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

 

The writer of Hebrews is teaching us how urgent it is that we wake up and pay attention to what the Word of God has to say. Otherwise, we can and we will drift away and there will be no escape from the wrath of God when we neglect our salvation by not taking heed to Godís Word.

 

Unfortunately, there are many today who are not good listeners, and they only hear what they want to hear, because just like the opposing Jews of the first century, their hearing is dull and their vision is blurry. The more we develop this attitude, the harder our hearts will grow and we can get to the point where their grace God canít make into our hearts because we have seared our conscience with a hot iron. So, I hope all of us in this room will take heed to the doctrine of Christ and continue in it so that we will never neglect our salvation.

 

As we come to the end of our lesson, I hope that each of us will keep our eyes and ears open to the warning signs that are given to us in the Bible so that we can live a life that will be acceptable before God and so that our souls will be saved in the end.††